The List of Lists 2013: Dining

Updated 7/18/2013

Vita.mn readers pick their top dining spots.

Best restaurants in Minneapolis

Like its sibling 112 Eatery, Bar La Grassa (800 Washington Av. N., Mpls., www.barlagrassa.com) has stood the test of keeping fickle diners transfixed, this time with chef/owner Isaac Becker’s nouveau take on Italian. Pastas, fresh and dry (Becker is an advocate for the many shapes and incarnations of dry pastas, reminding us that denizens of the Boot dine on the stuff daily) along with crudos, enormous bisteccas and those famous lobster and eggs. With the varied menu, you’ll also find the signature Becker value, where a choose-your-own-adventure of price points lets you cash in at five bucks for a half-order of red wine spaghetti with pine nuts, or if you prefer, gobsmack your clients with icy shellfish platters, foie gras tortellini and impressive cuts of red meats. These, plus Johnny Cash on the playlist (as well as the artwork) and handsome wood paneling alongside an airy open exhibition kitchen, are makings for a true classic. MECCA BOS

Best restaurants in Minneapolis

1. Bar La Grassa

2. Smack Shack

3. 112 Eatery

4. Butcher & the Boar

5. Tilia

6. Bachelor Farmer

7. Republic

8. Pizzeria Lola

9. Pepito’s

10. The Harriet Brasserie

Best restaurants in St. Paul

Anywhere Strip Club Meat & Fish restaurateur/barman/gentleman Tim Niver goes, you should follow. That is, if you’re looking for the sort of service aesthetic that is simply from a time gone by. Where a lady gets a kiss of greeting on the hand, where your classic cocktail of choice gets mixed and placed on the bar before your bum can kiss the stool, where the whole of it feels like nothing less than a night out at the home of a friend. Enter chef and resident raconteur J.D. Fratzke, who not only loves cuisine, but also literature and poetry and music, which of course all subtly make their way into the food. Toss in a stunner of a classic St. Paul building, an unexpected neighborhood, downtown views and some very eclectic Midwestern cooking and this is the restaurant you want to be eating at. (378 Maria Av., St. Paul, www.domeats.com). MECCA BOS

Best restaurants in St. Paul

1. The Strip Club Meat & Fish

2. Foxy Falafel

3. Cossetta

4. Blue Door Pub

5. Colossal Cafe

6. Meritage

7. Ward 6

8. The Nook

9. W.A. Frost

10. Ngon Vietnamese Bistro

Best restaurants in the suburbs

1. Ansari’s Mediterranean Grill, Eagan

2. Pizza Lucé, Hopkins

3. Parma 8200, Bloomington

4. Pittsburgh Blue, Maple Grove

5. Original Pancake House

6. Lions Tap, Eden Prairie

7. El Loro

8. Crave, Edina

9. Bambu, Maplewood

10. Roasted Pear, Brooklyn Park

Best service

1. Hell’s Kitchen

2. The Harriet Brasserie

3. Ward 6

4. Manny’s Steakhouse

5. Ike’s Food and Cocktail

6. Oceanaire

7. Restaurant Alma

8. Ruth’s Chris Steak House

9. The Strip Club

10. Cosmos

Best atmosphere

1. Psycho Suzi’s

2. W.A. Frost

3. Union

4. Republic (7 Corners)

5. Bar La Grassa

6. Ward 6

7. The Harriet Brasserie

8. Parka

9. Pig Ate My Pizza

10. Pizza Lucé (St. Paul)

Best food trucks

1. Vellee Deli

2. Hola Arepa

3. Foxy Falafel

4. World Street Kitchen

5. Chef Shack

6. The MidNord Empanada Truck

7. Rusty Taco

8. Simply Steve’s

9. Home Sweet Home

10. Gastrotruck

Best bakery

1. Glam Doll Donuts

2. A Baker’s Wife

3. Angel Food

4. Patisserie 46

5. Wuollet Bakery

6. Salty Tart

7. Cupcake

8. Trung Nam French Bakery

9. The Wedge Co-op

10. Patrick’s Bakery & Cafe

Best local/ organic/ sustainable restaurants

1. Foxy Falafel

2. The Bachelor Farmer

3. Common Roots

4. Mosaic Cafe

5. Tao Natural Foods

6. French Meadow

7. Birchwood Cafe

8. Ngon Vietnamese Bistro

9. The Gray House

10. Spoonriver

Best places to eat after midnight

1. Mesa Pizza

2. Pizza Lucé

3. Uptown Diner

4. Triple Rock

5. Santana Foods

6. White Castle

7. Burrito Loco

8. Little Tijuana

9. Mac’s Industrial

10. The Bulldog

Best cheap eats

Foxy Falafel’s Erica Strait can boast some of the longest food-truck lines along Marquette Avenue, a shiny new restaurant in a hopeful neighborhood along the University Avenue light-rail line (791 Raymond Av., St. Paul, 651-888-2255) and a handle on the idea that a deep-fried favorite can be healthy. Foxy falafels are not the oil-soaked bean balls of your drunken past, but instead beet-and curry-infused levity that you can feel good about selecting for a reasonable lunch. Aside from her famous “Stoplight Falafel” (one of each variety — curry, beet and traditional — tucked warmly into a pita), Strait sets herself apart with the most American of all menu faves: condiments. Sauce your three-way sammie three different ways, with handmade tahini, hummus and tzatziki. And pickles of assorted types. And? Pedal-powered smoothies. For food-sensitive types, please know that the Foxy fryer is both gluten-free and vegetarian. MECCA BOS

Best cheap eats

1. Foxy Falafel

2. Mesa Pizza

3. Punch Pizza

4. Pizza Lucé

5. Pho Ca Dao

6. Nong’s Thai

7. Marina Grill and Deli

8. Hmong Village

9. Bangkok Thai Deli & Supermarket

10. Farmington Steakhouse

Best brunch

1. Ward 6

2. Colossal Cafe

3. Hell’s Kitchen

4. Triple Rock

5. Hazel’s Northeast

6. The Strip Club

7. The Bachelor Farmer

8. The Bad Waitress

9. Pizza Lucé

10. Modern Times Cafe

Delivery faves

1. Pizza Lucé

2. BiteSquad

3. Caffrey’s

4. Xin Wong

5. Sawatdee

6. Toppers Pizza

7. Scusi

8. Pagoda

9. Mesa Pizza

10. Galactic Pizza

Best Italian

1. Cossetta

2. Bar La Grassa

3. Broders’ Pasta Bar

4. Pizza Nea

5. Al Vento

6. Pazzaluna

7. Campiello

8. Rinata

9. Vescio’s

10. Nonna Rosa’s

Best Thai

1. Amazing Thailand

2. True Thai

3. Sen Yai Sen Lek

4. Chiang Mai Thai

5. Taste of Thailand

6. Mango Thai

7. Roat Osha

8. Pad Thai on Grand

9. Nong’s Thai

10. Lemon Grass Thai Cuisine

Best Chinese

1. Evergreen

2. Tea House

3. Rainbow Chinese

4. Shuang Cheng

5. Pei Wei

6. Mei Wei

7. Grand Shanghai

8. Fresh Wok

9. Cleveland Wok

10. China Wok

Best Indian

1. Bombay Bistro

2. Namaste Cafe

3. Gandhi Mahal

4. Jewel of India

5. India Palace

6. Darbar

7. Dancing Ganesha

8. Marla’s Caribbean Cuisine

9. Curry & Noodles

10. Taste of India

Best chicken wings

1. Buffalo Wild Wings

2. D-Spot

3. Smoke in the Pit

4. Pizza Lucé

5. The Moose on Monroe

6. The Corner Bar

7. Shaws

8. Republic

9. Panino Brothers

10. Muddy Waters

Best barbecue

1. Bayport BBQ

2. Ted Cook’s 19th Hole

3. Big Daddy’s

4. Cap’s Grille

5. Dickey’s

6. Rack Shack BBQ

7. Rooster’s BBQ Deli

8. Famous Dave’s

9. Khan’s Mongolian Grill

10. Dixies on Grand

Best pizza

1. Pizza Lucé

2. Pizzeria Lola

3. Galactic Pizza

4. Psycho Suzi’s

5. Punch Neapolitan Pizza

6. Black Sheep Pizza

7. Pizza Nea

8. Cossetta

9. Red’s Savoy

10. Fat Lorenzo’s

Best sandwiches

1. Be’wiched

2. Caffrey’s

3. Ward 6

4. Pizza Lucé

5. Nelson’s Cheese and Deli

6. Mac’s Industrial

7. Cheeky Monkey Deli

8. Jimmy John’s

9. Mayslack’s

10. Mosaic Cafe

Best burgers

Any fool can take a ball of mincemeat, throw it on some heat and call it a burger. It takes talent to crank out a product tens of thousands of times and keep a consistent, distinctive flavor that induces cravings both sober and otherwise. Blue Door Pub (1811 Selby Av., St Paul, 651-493-1865; and now at 3448 42nd Av. S., Mpls.) takes what is arguably a Twin Cities native dish — the Jucy Lucy — and elevates it, all the while keeping a sort of honest watering hole your dad would not be embarrassed to eat at. The “Blucys” are, of course ,bestowed with fillings of your choice of cheeses, both fancy and not. And then they’re dressed up with sauce, garnish and the crowning glory — a signature squishy white bun. The equation goes like this — wait 20 minutes for a coveted spot (not without a Grain Belt in hand). Be seated. Order burger (Blucy). Plus more beer. Now, you’re living. MECCA BOS

Best burgers

1. Blue Door Pub

2. 5-8 Club

3. The Nook

4. Matt’s Bar

5. The Bulldog N.E.

6. The Harriet Brasserie

7. Republic

8. Town Hall Brewery

9. Burger Jones

10. Red Cow

Best fries

1. Mosaic Cafe

2. Five Guys

3. Republic

4. Barbette

5. McDonald’s

6. Liquor Lyle’s

7. Meritage

8. Stub & Herb’s

9. Ward 6

10. Annie’s Parlour

Best sushi

1. Masu

2. Origami

3. Fuji-ya

4. Seven Sushi

5. Nami

6. Obento-Ya

7. Wakame

8. Wasabi

9. Ichiban

10. Sakura

Best ice cream

1. Sebastian Joe’s

2. Izzy’s

3. Grand Ole Creamery

4. Ring Mountain

5. Pumphouse Creamery

6. Cow Bella

7. Paciugo Gelato

8. Nonna Rosa’s gelato

9. Froz Broz

10. Minnesota Creamery

Co-ops that rock our world

1. Seward Co-op

2. Linden Hills Co-op

3. Mississippi Market

4. River Market

5. Hampden Park

6. Eastside Food Co-op

7. The Wedge

Best grocery stores

1. The Wedge Co-op

2. Seward Co-op

3. Super Target

4. Kowalski’s

5. Lunds

6. Trader Joe’s

7. Rainbow

8. Mississippi Market

9. Marissa’s Supermarket

10. Aldi

Favorite farmers’ markets

1. Kingfield

2. St. Paul

3. Midtown

4. Mill City

5. Northeast

6. Centennial Lakes Park

7. St. Louis Park

8. Linden Hills

9. Stevens Square

10. Mary Mother, Burnsville

The List of Lists 2013